Robertson v. Sch. Bd. of the City of Richmond, Va.

The plaintiff, a teacher’s assistant, has plausibly stated Fourth Amendment claims based on his alleged unreasonable seizure by Richmond Public Schools safety officers.

Based on reports that the plaintiff smelled like alcohol, school administrators detained him in their office and ordered him to report to a private drug-testing facility to determine his blood alcohol content. They also told him he was required to be escorted by school safety officers. His BAC was 0.0, and he tested negative for all other drugs tested.

Allegations that the school’s “protocol” permits its safety officers to detain employees and subject them to blood alcohol testing based on scant evidence of misconduct allow the court to draw a reasonable inference that there may have been other instances of unconstitutional conduct by school officials. Therefore, the plaintiff states a plausible claim based on custom or usage with the force of law.

The plaintiff also alleges that the school provided no training safety officers on constitutional limitations, despite have a drug-testing detention “protocol.” A sufficient causal link exists between the failure to train and the alleged constitutional violation to support liability based on the School Board’s own failure to train, rather than the personal choices of the officers.

Motion to dismiss denied in part and granted in part.

Robertson v. Sch. Bd. of the City of Richmond, Va., No. 3:18cv371, Feb. 1, 2019. EDVA at Richmond (Gibney).

Categories: Opinions, U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Virginia

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